UK Politics

Former NI Secretary Lord Mayhew dies, aged 86

Patrick Mayhew Image copyright PA

Former Conservative Cabinet minister Lord Mayhew, who served as NI secretary and attorney general, has died, aged 86.

Patrick Mayhew was MP for Tunbridge Wells from 1974 until he stood down at the 1997 general election.

He was the longest-serving secretary of state for Northern Ireland, holding the post from 1992-1997.

His family said he died peacefully at his home in Kent on Saturday.

In a statement the family said: "He had lived with cancer and Parkinson's for several years. He worked hard for peace in Northern Ireland."

The former lawyer and army officer was married to a teacher, Jean, and they had four sons.

Lord Mayhew was at the eye of the storm again during the Spycatcher affair, when he attempted to block the publication of former MI5 agent Peter Wright's memoirs for the Thatcher government.

He was also angrily accused by Irish politicians of being behind the decision not to prosecute Royal Ulster Constabulary officers implicated by the Stalker affair - the investigation into an alleged shoot-to-kill policy during the Troubles.

'Outstanding MP'

Communities Secretary Greg Clark, MP for Tunbridge Wells, said the peer would be "deeply missed".

"Patrick Mayhew, an outstanding MP for Tunbridge Wells, former Sec of State and friend has died," he tweeted. "Much loved & respected, will be deeply missed."

Baroness Stowell of Beeston, Leader of the House of Lords, tweeted: "Very sad to hear Lord Mayhew of Twysden has died. He played a massive part in achieving peace in N. (Northern) Ireland.

"As a friend & colleague, Paddy Mayhew was supportive, a great source of wisdom, and always fun to be with. Condolences to his family."

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